William Louis Petersen (born February 21, 1953) is an American actor and producer, best known for playing Dr. Gilbert “Gil” Grissom on the hit CBS series CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.
He has also portrayed President John F Kennedy in the 1998 TV film The Rat Pack. Petersen is notoriously selective about the film roles he chooses, and has turned down roles in several films that went on to become modern classics.
Attended Bishop Kelly High School in Boise, Idaho. He wears his old football jersey from that school in most of his movies.
Daughter named Maite Nerea, born in 1975, in Mondragon (País Vasco, Spain).
Testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on increased funding for crime labs.
Attended the renowned Steppenwolf Company.
Engaged to Gina Cirone, a biology teacher. [March 2002]
Started at Idaho State University on a football scholarship, where he found acting.
Married longtime girl friend, Gina Cirone, in Petrignano, Italy.
He has a production company called, High Horse (with friend & fellow “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” (2000) producer, Cynthia Chvatal).
He has one grandchild named Mazrik William (born October 2003).
One “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” (2000) plot line had him pursuing an insane killer played by Tom Noonan, who also played the titular insane killer in Manhunter (1986).
Was offered a role in Platoon (1986), but turned it down because it was a low paying job and the prospect of going to the Phillipines for weeks of training before filming didn’t appeal to him.
Calls Long Gone (1987) (TV) the most fun he ever had making a movie. He made it instead of appearing in Platoon (1986).
Was cast in To Live and Die in L.A. (1985) after Gary Sinise declined the part. Sinise became the star of “CSI: NY” (2004), which is the spin-off of Petersen’s series “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” (2000).
Co-presented an award at the 2004 Emmys with Dennis Franz, whose former “NYPD Blue” (1993) co-star, David Caruso stars in “CSI: Miami” (2002) the spin-off of Petersen’s series “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” (2000).
Has played two characters with the surname “Walker.” He played Gideon Walker in “Return to Lonesome Dove” (1993) and Steve Walker in Fear (1996).
Declined the offer to produce “CSI: Miami” (2002), the spin-off of his series “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” (2000).
Because his role in Manhunter (1986) was so emotionally exhausting, he did everything he could to rid himself of the Will Graham character after filming had been completed. This included cutting his hair and dyeing it blonde, and shaving off his beard.
Played Missy Crider’s father in the mini series The Beast (1996) (TV). Crider later appeared in the second season premiere of “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” (2000).
Was 33 years old when Manhunter (1986) was released. When the film’s remake, Red Dragon (2002) was released, his Will Graham successor, Edward Norton, was also 33 years old.
An avid Chicago Cubs fan, he sings the seventh inning stretch at Wrigley Field every year and also narrated the documentary Wrigley Field: Beyond the Ivy (2001) (V) about Wrigley Field.
Owns the rights of James Ellroy’s crime novel “Clandestine”.
Turned down a major part in Michael Mann’s Heat (1995).
Has performed at the Steppenwolf Theater in Chicago.
Appears in The Skulls (2000) with Hill Harper. Harper currently co- stars in “CSI: NY” (2004), the spin-off of Petersen’s series “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” (2000).
Winner of the Joseph Jefferson Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of Jack Abbott in “The Belly Of The Beast”.
Has been portrayed in several CSI games.
He has been an ensemble member of the Steppenwolf Theater Company in Chicago, Illinois since 2008.
Shares his birthday with Larry Drake, who appeared with him in _The Beast(1996)_.
He was nominated for a 1982 Joseph Jefferson Award for Actor in a Principal Role in a Play for “The Tooth of Crime” at the Remains Theatre in Chicago, Illinois.
He was awarded the 1984 Joseph Jefferson Award for Actor in a Principal Role in a Play for “In the Belly of the Beast” at the Wisdom Bridge Theatre in Chicago, Illinois.
He was nominated for a 1994 Joseph Jefferson Award for Actor in a Principal Role in a Play for “The Night of the Iguana” at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago, Illinois.